Archive for March, 2009

Rage and reconciliation

March 29, 2009

Mrs. Stepford had a wee dinner celebration for Earth Day last evening. We ate a delicious hot dinner of ribs (Oh Lordy, she’s a good cook!) before the lights went out. Martha, the other guest, brought some home made Jonagold apple sauce and Balderson’s very aged white cheddar to go with it. Mmmmm! A simple feast!

At 8:30 we lit candles, turned out the electricity and started to tell stories.

Martha brought a book, a collection of short essays authored by someone who wrote for the Philedelphia Press and read two of them. One was about geese no longer going south because the urban winter environment was just too comfortable and safe for them. The other concerned the careless activity of smokers flicking their toxin laden cigarette butts into the landscape, forever polluting the land and the waterways with said toxins. Interesting stuff.

We so much enjoyed this activity that we stayed an extra half hour without electricity blaming it on Mrs. Stepford who forgot to unplug the coffee pot during the seance. She took the ribbing well – but not so well that she wasn’t ready to give me a poke about my just previous blog about art philosophy.

She was determined that I had inadvertently done some art student’s homework providing him with the answer to his class assignment – falling unwittingly into his artful trap in doing so.

Martha, unaware of the issues, asked what it was all about, so Mrs. Stepford printed out a copy, and I read out the question in the student’s garbled version (or maybe it was the prof’s???).

So we talked about it for a while. In the end, Mrs. Stepford said with a laugh,”You went on a rage there! Everyone knows your aversion to artspeak! You came away looking like you were justifying your own existence! Very teacherish. Professorial. Just whacking the student a little overmuch.”

I admitted sheepishly that I had gone into a bit of rage at the sloppy thinking and the sloppy use of English language. Martha got restless at the academic turn of conversation and stood up to go.

Mr. Stepford came home and asked for a rerun of the question. By now, I was feeling rather beat upon and  raced Martha to the door. All in good fun and in celebration of the Good Earth……

So if any of you out there found me out of my usual character on the last post,  I don’t apologize. I just recognize that this Gemini individual that I am  has this congenial, soft-spoken friendly side and a seldom exposed rigorous rage that pops seemingly out of nowhere.

So if I’ve driven anyone away (Mrs. Stepford), please come back. I promise to return to my jocular self in all successive posts.

(Maybe? …)

Advertisements

Intelligent design?

March 28, 2009

This morning, as I often do, I was checking out blogs of people who had visited mine. I came across discussvisually.wordpress.com who had posted this question:

The Right Type of Art

January 30, 2009, 4:45 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
  1. In a current climate of eccentric visual and conceptual art, Has creativity been contaminated by an art education that has the possibility and ability to embrace the intelligent within the art scene. Has visual art become infected by inteligent and articulate themes and efforts that are widely accepted in conteporary art. Rathe than the ability to visually construct and deconstruct themes motifs and ideas through visual understanding.

It brought up ideas for me that I thought were worth sharing and you might take a minute, if you are interested, to visit this young up-coming artist’s blog and add to the reflections on his blog.

This was my answer:

Curious question!
It’s is a poorly articulated question and so it becomes difficult to answer.
First, there is the use of the words, contaminated and infected that have a great deal of negativity as if art education and simultaneously, intelligence and articulate themes, are bad things.
Secondly, there is an implication (as written) that there is an intelligent group within the art scene and (by implication) an unintelligent group. Is this so? Is intelligence not necessary in art? I think it is. How, then, can it infect or be negative in the production of art?
It seems to me that being able to recognize and manipulate themes in art is an intellectual activity, whether articulated or not. To be able to visually construct and deconstruct them is a further intellectual refinement.
It often astounds me when people conceive that the artist is not using his or her brain to produce art work!
The artists that have become iconic in the realm of art history are always the ones that have conceptualized (consciously or unconsciously) a new movement, who have seen something different in the world about them and have been able to express it visually.
These, to me are the most creative of artists.  They are not content to copy the style of the day but go boldy into realms of the unexplored, pushing the limits, divining in the creative soup for new meanings or ways of seeing.

I’ll just expand on that here with a few examples:

Think of Cezanne who conceived that it was not necessary to reproduce images realistically – that  viewing them through a geometric analysis was more interesting.  By breaking with the realism mode of thinking, Cezanne opened the door for other artists to break with realism in their own ways. Growing out of this visionary shift in point of view, comes the whole twentieth century of abstraction, starting with the Cubists all the way up to the Minimalists.

Another iconic shift in visual thinking comes with Seurat and the pointillists. The idea arose from new scientific discoveries about the way people see. Since the eye melds little dots of colour when viewing, Seurat thought,  then he would paint in little dots and let the viewer do the mixing!

In fact, the artists of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries began to deconstruct the elements of visual understanding, explored the elements on their own and came to new understandings of how imagery works.  Bingo! Or should I say, Eureka! We have Conceptual Art, a hundred years later by a progression of subsequent discoveries or experimentation or thoughtful deconstruction of the art making process.

Some artists are willing to articulate their intentions in words and are able to do so quite admirably. Others are not literary thinkers nor writers and have not been so able to explain their new work. But literate and intelligent are not synonymous. There are many kinds of intelligence – visual, kinetic, otic, mechanical,spatial,  etc.  Those artists who can express their thinking in paint but not produce their own artist’s statement are fortunate if they can talk it out and have some ghost writer or critic understand and articulate it for them.

As an aside, I worked in Property Management for many years. Our electrical, mechanical and architectural technicians were wonderful, each in their field, in finding solutions to problems, but so many of them were unable to write clearly what they were doing. Those that could, rose into management; those who couldn’t continued to work their wonders in the practical end of things. I valued these people immensely. It was the hands-on guy who could fix things, often at low cost. On the other hand, those credited with degrees in the same subject and with the qualifications to design solutions could articulate a new design, a whole new system – but often not required, or often with glitches built in that only the practical guy could find because of his practical experience.

Two types of intelligence, both working on the same problem, would often butt heads, but in the end, it was the practical guy who finally got the thing to work. When it was necessary to sell the solution to the purse string holders, it was someone in the middle like me who had to write and articulate what was required – and I wasn’t intelligent in either aspects of the mechanical problem! But I was intelligent in breaking down what they were saying into an understandable text that would allow other generalists like myself to understand what was needed and why we needed the funds.

All that is to say, some artists can explain their intentions in words and others need help in doing so. Some get it and some don’t. And even if they are capable, sometimes they are so far ahead of current thinking, so radical in their perceptions, that it takes a century for an artist like van Gogh to shine (at auctionary multi-millions). It needs a host of art historians and researchers for him to be somewhat understood – even though he was extraordinarily articulate!

And so, I might  rephrase the question:

  • In the academic obsession with eccentric and conceptual art, has academic art education influenced the current art scene by imposing intellectual thought process as a requirement of  artistic expression?
  • Is the academic insistence on articulation of conceptual ideas in contemporary art as restrictive to creativity as the strictures of the (French) Academie was in Nineteenth Century  Art?
  • Is the ability to visually construct and deconstruct ideas, themes and motifs  through visual understanding sufficient in itself or is art only valid if it can also be explained verbally?

All of this reminds me of something I learned when I studied to be a teacher:

If you want the right answer, you must ask the right question!

I invite your comments.

Lucy Adams and Alexander Pernat

March 28, 2009

w-603-small

Alexander Pernat – Waiting Oil and acrylic on canvas

Often, people say to me, you are right in the spot you are supposed to be, implying that even if you have a rough day, you may be learning something from it and it’s part of your life lesson to work your way out of it; or it’s up to you to stop getting yourself into difficulty.

So today, when things went sideways, I tried to go with the flow.

In the early afternoon, I attended a friend’s mother’s Celebration of Life and was glad to have the company of another friend from our writers’ group. I was back home by three thirty, in time for a retiree’s nap.

I was going to need it because I was going out to a lecture in the evening, driving for a considerable distance and I needed to be alert for the driving.

Mrs. Stepford next door suggested I leave at five thirty because at this hour, the traffic might be quite busy and there were likely to be three or four ferry waits at the soon to be discontinued Albion Ferry.

The lecture was Doris Auxier, Painter, Head of hte Art Department at Trinity Western University, speaking on the shift from modernism to postmoderninsm and connecting this to socio/political meaning. I know little about modernism and postmodernism so I was looking forward learing more about it and as a result, putting some of today’s art practice into a context that would have some greater meaning to it for me.

After a long drive to Lucy Adam’s Studio in Langley, I parked the car in her driveway, somewhat surprised to find mine the only visiting car. Lucy, whom I had not met before, came out to greet me.

The lecture had been cancelled. After five ferry waits and this long drive, I was naturally disappointed, but instead of wasting the opportunity, I asked Lucy if it would inconvenience her if I looked at her work.

Her studio is in a  rural area with homes on large acreage parcels. Hers has a  manicured field in front of it, and then the house is up on a rock outcropping that is covered in alder trees. The studio is set back from the house  a little further up the hill.

Lucy is doing some very interesting work painting right onto glass. This method of painting results in a very curious and beautiful surface quality that is shiny and luminous.  The painting has to be done backwards, of course, with the paints being applied in reverse of what one would normally do. It’s no mean feat!

She is preparing her solo show for the Fort Gallery a little later this year and she is experimenting with a new concept – but I won’t spoil it by divulging it here.  Watch for the Fort Gallery’s upcoming shows and come see it yourselves.

There was nothing for it but to drive back home. Lucy was very apologetic about not having been able to notify me, but it wasn’t her fault. Looping back to that first comment I made, I think I was just in the right place at the right time.

Had I come to the lecture and the building had been filled with people, I would not have had the opportunity to meet Lucy personally and get to know her, nor would I have had the luxury of being able to closely examine her paintings.

I was glad to be making my way home in dusk conditions. I could see where I was going, and since it was my first time on that road, I was reassured. I had partially lost my way coming; I was happy to have early evening light to wend my way back home.

Of course,  I had to pass by The Fort Gallery and the lights were on. I wasn’t sure if it was an opening or a private party, so I stopped by,  just in case I would get to see some more art work.

As luck had it, Alexander Pernat’s show opening was this evening.  There were only seven paintings, although one, to be fair, was four-panneled and it took up most of one wall. It’s the one  at the very top of this post. A large fish stares right out at you, waiting.  Despite the stillness of the fish, there is tension in the image. It is painted so beautifully that you can imagine the fish is just waiting for a meal to swim by, or if you approach one step closer, it will dart away or scuttle under the mud in perfect camoflage. In the meantime, this fish is just waiting.

It’s perfectly painted. It has precision in the eyes where it’s needed, and it’s painterly and loose every-elsewhere. The composition works quite meditatively – it has the stillness that the waiting requires – and yet there is movement in the school of fish in the lower right.

The painting could be quite cool with all that cerulean blue but there is plenty of warmth provided in the fish’s face and in the lower right.

Alexander Pernat besides being an artist, is a craftsman. He understands colour and uses it subtly. My photographs don’t do his work justice. They were taken under less than optimal conditions. In this next image, Crescent Dusk, ( three foot by three foot, to give you an idea of scale)  Pernat has beautiful control of his colours. First of all, there is the grey cloud which, curiously enough, shows well in this poor photo here, rich with warm and cool greys.

But all the finesse Pernat has put into the water and the shoreline disappears in this photo. My apologies, but at least you can get a good idea of his work.

alex-pernat-cresent-dusk-small

The brush strokes in the wave are crisp and clear and yet applied with great freedom. There is not just one colour of azure but at least seven in the range from light to dark. There are touches of warmth in them too, although the wave is pale azure blue. There is a real feeling of transparency in the wave, and then the fshore is opaque. In the foreground, there is a full range of various dark colours but they  are completely lost in this photo, unfortunately.  It’s a rich, painterly painting.

alex-pernat-azure-pale-small

Pernat’s  painting of Amber Pale, in the tradition of photo realism, shows that his talents with colour mixing range both through the light colours and through the dark and somber. Yet this painting is full of light. Lovely, really.

True to all Fort Gallery openings, wine was available, and a bit of munchies. I had a bit of both, took my photos, had a wee conversation with Alexander Pernat who has just retired from his day job and will be relocating in another area of the province. This is a farewell show,  in Fort Langley.

Come to see it if you are in the area. You won’t be disappointed.

Grafitti Hitachi – mixing greys

March 25, 2009

graffiti-hitachi-4final-a-small

Grafitti Hitachi – Acrylic on canvas 16 x 20 inches. K. Krimmel

Welcome to my fourth image in the Construction series. I must say that the creation of this brainchild was a difficult birth.

I already complained about my frustration with acrylics, so won’t continue on whining about that. I’ll just mention that  working with grey colours is both a delight and a frustration for an artist. Anyone who can handle them well has his colour mixing down pat.

The problem with greys is that the are so influenced by the colours next to them. If you put a neutral grey beside blue, it will take on an orange cast. Conversely if you put a neutral grey beside an orange, the grey will take on a blue colour.  They pick up the opposite tinge from the colour wheel.

You really need to test the grey beside the neighbouring colour in order to understand what still needs to be added  so that the colour will “sit right” beside it. “Read properly?” I’m not sure how to describe that. You might test it to see what I mean.

In this painting, I like how the orange machinery draws you into the picture plane, right across the whole thing and then dips down almost to the bottom with a bit of a curve inwards so that you can start looking at the rest of the picture.  I am quite happy about what happened with the grey wall, the shotcrete (a concrete product that is sprayed on to a wall that has been excavated for construction) and with the various bits of mechanical shovel and rebar. I also like the contrasted formality of the machinery and the randomness of the grafitti on the wall behind that frames the Hitachi machine.

Stay posted for some variations on a theme.

Freshness – a new painting

March 23, 2009

spring-weather-sketch-small

The question is, how do you translate a sketch into a painting and retain the dynamic quality of freshness?

I’ve been working on 8 x 10 canvas panels, trying to get some freedom back into my work. I find the acrylics quite daunting because they dry so fast (yes, I know there are retardants and mediums that might help).

I started out with this  little 3 x 5 inch sketch (above) thinking that it was simple enough in composition and even in colour mixing for me to play around with. It’s a field note  with this bit of direction on it:
All grey with one thin grass green (line) high in pic plane.

The sketch is moody and the mark making is lively. For being quite dark, it has quite a bit of light in it. You can feel the sudden rain just coming or conversely, just gone by.

The sketch has some variety in the greys – the sap green colour has bled into some of the grey in the water. A warm dove grey has been underpainted in the top third, and the second grey, an overlay, is a moody mix of burnt umber and French ultramarine blue. The drawing has been made with a Pilot Hi-Techpoint V5 Extra fine pen.

Now here is the in-studio acrylic I’ve done using the sketch for information.

spring-weatherv2-small

One of my problems is that I’m used to working with thin paints in oils. When you apply oils, they remain a little bit like butter and you can mix them together on the painting surface. In this acrylic painting, I brushed on a background over the whole surface but the colours did not meld as well, nor did I have much time to adjust the colours through working with them on the canvas. I”m not sure that it’s possible with acrylics. Before I stopped on this first go-around, I painted in the sap green stripe of grass on the river’s edge.

On the second stage, I painted in the trees and their reflections and ensured that they were dried before I put on the next layer. I find that it’s hard to get fine lines with this paint. If it’s too thin, it doesn’t carry enough paint to cover, and if it is thicker, one can’t obtain fine lines.

On the third go-around, I mixed a goodly proportion of  medium to the grey and used it like a glaze or a watercolour wash, directly over the trees, in the upper right of the sky and in the mid section of the water. I found this mixture applied streakily and I spent quite a bit of time managing where the streaks were unwanted.

Now I’m contemplating. The acrylic version seems so much more staid. I agree with Mrs. Stepford next door that I need to use thicker paint. I’m wondering if another layer of the grey wash/glaze will help the trees blend into the sky and river.

So there it is. Comments anyone? Suggestions?

And by the way, when I take photographs of these small works on canvas, I seem to get unwanted patterns from the canvas texture which my photograph shows on screen. Scanning the picture makes it even worse.

Have any of my readers come up against this problem? If so, have you found a way of correcting or avoiding it?

This week

March 20, 2009

This week I haven’t been inspired. The words don’t flow. This evening, though, I downloaded a few recent photos from my camera and here they are:

w-442-small

We had about twenty seconds of sunshine this week and it came pouring in my south window right onto my kitchen counter and blessed these cut up yellow peppers with a dash of light.

Then I was out raking some of last autumn’s leaf mould which I leave on the garden until the threat of frost is over. I was raking it away from my crocus garden because they are struggling to show through. I found this leaf skeleton which I find fascinating – the structure remains but the flesh is gone.

w-434-small

We had had a week of sunshine and temperatures in the ten above range. I was going out with just a nice heavy sweater – no need for a jacket nor scarf nor boots. On Monday, the temperature dipped down to below zero again and there was a late snow fall of an inch or so, all crusty and clean white. Maybe my crocus wanted that leaf mould protection  still, but it was too late. Here they are – and isn’t the transition from the yellow to purple just magnificent. How does the petal do that without getting the colours muddy? They are opposite colours, and if you tried to duplicate that in watercolour, it would go all muddy and create a grey.

w-421-small

w-424-small

And there it is. Crisp snow, good light and a great shadow to boot. I think it’s the last we will see this winter.   It has been raining heavily ever since.

Spring has sprung.

Creativity

March 9, 2009

isadore-michas-painting

Creativity!

It comes in an infinite number of forms, and just when you think there is nothing left to think up, someone creates the unthinkable, in a good sense – something simply not thought of before.

Think of Giotto who revolutionized the Renaissance way of painting; and van Gogh whose painting was so different from others that he created a scandal with it and nobody was remotely interested in buying it. Because of his work, art norms have changed. It’s quite acceptable now.

Think of the Impressionists who rejected the Academic way of painting; and the Art Deco movement that rejected the Art Nouveau style.  Or the Abstract Impressionists who were outrageous for their times.

Jackson Pollock stirred up quite a furor with his expression through throwing paint at a canvas.  With a quantum leap in style, the Op Artists reverted to a precise expression of optical illusions. And then we have Basquiat. If someone had not gotten him to paint on canvas, he still would only be an unknown graffiti artist. And, are you getting comfortable with Installation Art yet?

“Is it art?” we ask ourselves.  Barnett Newman’s Voice of Fire  (1967) outraged the Canadian public when the National Gallery purchased it for $1.8 million.It sparked a public debate, a horrified outcry that still simmers in the hearts of the disbelievers.

Art is not born of nothing. It grows and builds on what has come before. It modifies. The building blocks are the same – colour, form, shape, mark, tone – but how we put these together is what creativity is all about.

Given a big box of colourful Lego to make something with it, each artist creates a different object according to their disposition. Given the infinite variety of art materials available, there is an exponential variety of expressions that result.

Myself? I have a predeliction for working in representational modes, and given that precision is not in my nature, I have learned to accept that it perfectly all right to do so even though, from time to time, I wish I had that uber-vision that some other people have in perceiving and representing infinite detail. Other times I am in awe of someone’s ability to be tremendously organized and precise in their expression that nonetheless produces a work of intricate beauty.

Each time I check my blog stats, I look at incoming blog locations and often go check out who is coming to visit. In this manner, I discovered Isadore Michas. It’s worth taking a look. And no, he’s not the guy who is going to revolutionize the global art scene like van Gogh, but because he is such a polar opposite to me I spent quite a while this morning admiring his work. You can see it too, at:

isi2isi.wordpress.com/

and

http://www.isadoremichas.com/daniloretrogallery.html

These are interesting geometric works of great precision and his colouration plays with various harmonious ranges of  colour spectrum. They are made with acrylic resin on canvas and for me,  the medium seems to enhance the impression that I’m looking at stain glass works, not paintings.

The Hardware show

March 8, 2009

w-463-small1

An exciting show opened at The Fort Gallery  in Fort Langley, B.C. this evening. I’ve been waiting for this one since it touches one of my favourite subjects – hardware.

The Fort Gallery is run as an artist’s collective and this one is rather exciting. Every show I’ve seen there is good and some are simply outstanding. Each member of the collective gets to have a solo show once a year. A few times a year, there are group shows and tonight’s was one of those.

Each artist was asked to buy $40 dollars or less in a a hardware store and then create something to go on the walls for this show. There are mostly painters in this group, so it took each one of them out of his or her comfort zone not only in subject matter, but in tools and materials as well.

Beside each creation was a little slot where the hardware bill, proof of purchase, was tucked.

The images that follow will show you just how creative this group is. There is a wide variety of material choice and an equally broad result in stylistic form, as the photos that follow will attest:

In the bas relief picture up above, called “Joe the Butcher often had dreams of owning his own hardware store“, Diane Durand uses nuts of varying size and depth  set into plaster to create a pig.  This image has a strong textural quality established by the nuts  and the roughly trowelled plaster-like substance in which they are set. It’s not clear what the object represents above the pig, but it doesn’t matter; it’s what brings the composition into balance. I get a good laugh out of the piglet’s tail.

w-471-small

A fish out of water – JudyNygren

Still in a representational vein, Judy Nygren created this clever fish out of washers, screws, assorted fence screws, framing nails, colour paint swatches, pine board, fishing wire and wire. There is good craft in the assemblage of this bas-relief sculpture, a good use of colour and an imaginative way of metamorphosing hardware bits for scales and eyes. It’s not a humorous piece, per se, but I found myself laughing at the colour chips for scales and the completely successful use of materials to give an eerily tactile result.

w-470-small

Bag of light -Suzanne Northcott

Moving away from the strictly representational, Suzanne Northcott has assembled a lamp-like object with a welding wire, a bulb and paper bags cut into strips. It’s reminiscent of her nest series she did a few years ago both in paint and in large drawings.

w-467-small1 w-465-small

Nest – Doris Hutton Auxier

Continuing along  more abstractly, Doris Hutton Auxier has created nest from strips of automatic nail gun nails. She sets up an unnerving contrast of the the hard pointed steel to represent the normally soft downy interior of a nest. One has to wonder how long those four large “eggs” will last with those spikes for a bed.

Claire Moore created an Untitled flying figure of a woman that jutted out of the wall. It’s made of delicate soldering wire and was impossible to photograph well. A second one by Moore was entitled “It’s hard to find comfort when you are a prickly person” (you can just barely see the first delicate figure on the right-hand side of the photo below.

w-486-small

It’s hard to find comfort when you are a prickly person – Claire Moore

This mobile sculpture is about eight feet tall, suspended from the ceiling and strung into position with wires like a puppet. It’s made from Zap straps, foam insulation and hemp string. Several guests at the opening remarked that this was the best in show, but I had such a hard time deciding: there were so many excellent pieces.

w-481-small

Breach – Maggie Woycenko

Decidedly more abstract and reminiscent of the ‘Sixties is Maggie Woycenko‘s Breach made from linoleum tiles, screwhole plugs, shower curtain rings, paint and shoe polish.  I love this one. The surface has been rubbed with shoe polish to give it a rich surface texture. The composition is simple yet the screw-hole plugs bring interest to it, and at the centre, each central corner of the four tiles is raised up about two inches to expose a silver-coloured object that keeps the tiles up and open.

w-476-small

Home Sweet Home – Kate Bradford

You may remember Kate Bradford from an earlier post. She did small exquisite metal sculptures. Home Sweet Home is much more complicated by comparison. Here she uses Plaster of Paris, copper pipe, roofing screws, cedar shims, two mouse traps, electrical wire, steel brackets, twine, spray paint and bronze paint.

In a similar vein, Maggie Woycenko’s What is True vies with Bradford’s sculpture for the highest number of materials used. It’s made with photo album, plumb bob, saw blade, metal strapping, metal plates, chain, nails, locks, wire, paint and shoe polish. The lighting, I might add, brings extra shadows to the imagery which I find delightful.

w-488-small

What is true – Maggie Woycenko

Woycenko’s What is true is constructed around a photo album with additions of a plumb bob, saw blade, metal strapping, metal plates, chain, nails, locks, wire, paint and shoe polish. The shadows created by the gallery lighting echo the shape of the object emphasizing its three-dimensionality.


w-487-small

Remnants of the Post  Handyman Era- Scott Gordon

Using plaster, plywood, wooden dowel and hardware, Scott Gordon assembled this bas relief sculpture. The title is mysterious. Is this what was left over from constructing a fence?

The composition is meditatively balanced; the dowels set high in the frame leave room for shadows to become part of the imagery play; and the dark to light ratio is good.

w-469-small

Displaced – Betty Spackman

It took twelve paint rags, five cans of paint, fifty clothes pegs and thread to fabricate this wall hanging and a lot of creative imagination.  In a theme and variation tour de force, Spackman uses two principle images – the clothes peg and a house – massing them in patterns or alone, operating the images as stencils on one hand and as a print stamp on the other. She switches the shapes from positives to negatives. The colours, variations on a khaki green ochre, the unbleached cotton white  and sepia, blend easily into the overall effect, not overtaking the details of the forms.

w-461-small

Good Idea  – Susan Falk

On a plywood cut-out shape of torso and head painted black, three energy efficient light bulbs glow like the curly  stuffing of exposed brain. Electrical wire and electrical caps provide the connection to the fixtures. It lights up with a brilliant idea.  The concept of this piece is great although I would have liked to see  a bit more attention made to  finishing.

w-457-small1

Alice in Wonderland I, II and III – Terry Nurmi

These three intimate and thoughtful works  convey Nurmi’s  personal sense of colour, a subtle understanding of spatial relationships between objects with meditative results. These are pieces that can be comfortably lived with for a long time.

A few pieces were difficult to photograph to their advantage because they were in poor lighting situations for photography on an opening night. There was This and That, a Alexander Calder-like mobile in the front bay window of the gallery  by Judy Jones made of  green and red rope, copper wire, a light switch, reflector rods, nuts and bolts.  A lamp labeled, Life’s inside was made of doweling, lamp components and fishing wire. In Dennis Venema’s In my mind’s eye, a tripod holds a ABS plastic construct that looks like an old-fashioned camera complete with a black-out cloth, enhance with wax paper, rubber bands, and aluminim sheeting.

With twinkle lights and copper wire, Cathy Miller created a spiraling tube chandelier, calling it Copper wire gone haywire.

Lastly, Joanne Sheen made a large sketch book with pages of brown Kraft wrapping paper.  This too was difficult to photograph, especially since there were numerous images throughout.  Several had rubbings of metal objects – screws, washers and other hardware gizmos. Some incorporated sandpaper in collage with a charcoal or graphite  image. Each page  varied strongly from the preceding, evidencing an active imagination and a strong design sense.

w-451-small

Book – Joanne Sheen

A show like this is an inspiration to all artists. It’s a call to step outside our comfortable range and to really create – not just repeat past successes. It’s a reminder how fertile our imaginations really are. When corporations are seeking out new ideas, or even how to get their employees to think in a forward-minded way, they need to consult artists. Artists know how to make leaps in thought, to think sideways, not only to think outside of the box, but to leap out of that constraining box altogether. It is from this creative soup that new ideas come – some as brilliant and culture-quaking as Thomas Edison’s light bulb.

So if you are in the area, Fort Langley, B.C.,  and you like to be dazzled by excellent imagery, the Hardware Show runs at the Fort Gallery at 9048 Glover Street until the end of March, 2009.  It’s even worth an excursion from Vancouver to get out to see it!